Letters, We Get Mail, CIII

Date: Tue, March 3, 2009 1:58 pm     (answered 27 March)
From: "mike l."
Subject: AA is full of shit


I just found your site last week by googling "AA is full of shit". I have been sober for about 2 months now. I got sober around New Years after years of hard drinking. I was drinking about a fifth of vodka or more a day towards the end which was strange in that I had always been a whiskey and beer drinker. I guess I was drinking vodka to mask the smell while around my girlfriend and others. Anyway, after a few very bad fights with the girl and fucking up a few business deals I decided to quit and go to rehab.

I didn't have insurance but was able to pay around 15k for my treatment. I quickly found out that most centers cost much more than that. A center in Florida was willing to work with me but insisted that go thru detox which cost about 7500 dollars — they agreed to discount the remaining days of treatment for exactly the amount of money that I had.

I asked if I could just go thru the 21 days of treatment without detox and give them the negotiated rate because at this point I had been sober for a couple of weeks. They would not do it and even suggested that I drink moderately until I get there to avoid death which I did not do.

To make a long story short, once I arrived I was put on lots of medication which made me higher than any drunk I have ever been on. I can't remember much from this period other than sleeping thru classes and being told to surrender my will and all sorts of shit like that. When I finally emerged from the drug induced haze a couple of weeks later I was unable to sleep and was extremely irratible so much so that I was thrown out for arguing with a nurse over sleeping medication. Put in a van and dumped at Palm Beach airport.

When I got home my girlfriend was furious and did believe my story. I started going to AA meetings in order to make her happy and to start my new sober life. I attended daily for over a month and it didn't seem to matter where I went the same creeps were always there.

I have a hard time believing that all the negative reinforcement and bullshit clichés heal anyone.

  • I don't understand how someone that has been a thorough fuckup for all their lives can suddenly become a qualified life coach for anyone.

  • I find it ironic that a program based on honesty and humility has so many narcissists within its membership.

  • It seems like everyone I meet there romanticizes their drinking while minimizing your experience — "that's nothing; you should have seen me...."

The only thing that I have found rewarding in the program is that I can go there and talk to people about my drinking problem and not burden my friends and family with it but it does come at a price. I have this creep trying to be my sponsor and he wants me to work a fourth and fifth step with him. He also wants me to call him a couple of times a day to check in.

I got to tell you — AA makes me want to drink. I just don't get it. I haven't drank yet and hope that I don't and I don't.

The spirituality concept just doesn't make sense to me. I don't go to church and don't really get that either.

I've started watching Big Love on HBO. I see a lot of similarities with AA there. I work in politics and have done political messaging and commercials for several years now and see a little of that in AA too. I feel like I have stumbled across a fabulous subject for a documentary. What strange group of fucking people. Lying, miserable, ass working, etc... that's what I encountered at AA.

I also think there's direct violation of separation of church and state with the court mandates and federal funding — do you?


Hello Mike,

Thank you for the letter and the story. The short answer is, "Yes, yes, and yes, all the way down the list."

The treatment center was way out of line. I really don't know why they have not been sued out of existence by now.


  • "I don't understand how someone that has been a thorough fuckup for all their lives can suddenly become a qualified life coach for anyone."

    Yes. That is the underlying fundamental fatal flaw in the whole 12-Step "recovery-group" model.

    A previous correspondent wrote:

    "A flawed idea that AA is built upon: The idea that a deeply flawed person will cure another deeply flawed person. A dynamic fraught with peril."

    Or, as I like to say, "The inmates really are running the insane asylum."

    The A.A. sponsors kill a lot of people through stupidity and insanity. And ignorance and dogmatic beliefs. And lust for power or sex. And egotism and vanity. They are some of the worst counselors in the world.

  • "I find it ironic that a program based on honesty and humility has so many narcissists within its membership."

    Yes. Alcoholics Anonymous seems to distill and concentrate them. It's actually a common occupational hazard for all recovery groups. The healthier people recover and leave and get on with their lives. The unhealthy ones don't recover — they stay forever and become the old-timer mentors for the newcomers. Eventually, the majority of the old-timers are really sick people. (That is why Jack Trimpey shut down the Rational Recovery meetings. Look here.)

  • It seems like everyone I meet there romanticizes their drinking while minimizing your experience — "that's nothing; you should have seen me...."

    Again, yes. That problem goes all of the way back to the Oxford Group roots of Alcoholics Anonymous, where people would brag about their sins, and exaggerate their "wild and crazy ways" before the O.G. recruiter saved them from such fun. Look here.

    And actually, the problem goes all the way back to first-century Christianity. The book of James advised people to confess their sins to one another, but the early Christians soon found that such public church confessions created huge problems: the sensibilities of old people were offended, while the children were corrupted by the practice — they were informed of all kinds of new sins that they might like to try — while the sinners doing the confessing were takings great pride in the outrageousness of their sins. "My sins were much bigger and grander than your wimpy-ass little sins."
    The Church very quickly put a stop to the practice of public confessions, and now the Catholic Church has a rule against public confessions. All confessions are done in private, only to a priest who is sworn to secrecy.

    What Dr. Frank Buchman did with the Oxford Groups was revive a 2000-year-old mistake. And now A.A. is continuing the mistake.

    And there is one other huge problem with minimizing people's experiences and suffering, and I got my fingers burned by it. When a hard-core old-timer says, "Oh shucks! That's nothing! You should have seen me!", it can lead to the newcomer getting the impression that he isn't really an alcoholic after all — certainly not an alcoholic like the old-timer. Which means that it is okay to drink some more, because things aren't really so bad. That's what happened to me. The story is here.

  • "The spirituality concept just doesn't make sense to me. I don't go to church and don't really get that either."

    Yes, it's bullshit. Now mind you, I'm not an atheist or agnostic. I do believe in spirituality. And I know that lying to sick people about a suggested cure and how well it works isn't spiritual at all. And they do that at the start of every meeting as they read the plastic-laminated dogma from pages 58 through 60 of the Big Book.

    And trying to blackmail God and get miracles on demand isn't spiritual either. The real A.A. program is:

    "God: either You give me all of these things or else I'll drink myself to death:

    • In Step One, manage my unmanageable life for me, and make me quit drinking, or else...
    • In Step Two, restore me to sanity, or else...
    • In Step Three, take care of my will and my life for me, or else...
    • In Step Five, listen to my confession, or else...
    • In Step Seven, remove all of my moral shortcomings and defects of character, or else...
    • In Step Eleven, talk to me and give me Guidance and work orders, and power, or else...
    • In Step Twelve, give me a spiritual experience, or a "spiritual awakening", or else..."

    It's all "gimme, gimme, gimme."

    If God won't play along and tolerate the blackmail and deliver the goodies, then the Twelve-Step program cannot possibly work.

    A.A. is not a self-help group; it's an elf-help group. It isn't much different from praying for a leprechaun to bring you a pot of gold.

    A.A. is actually grossly heretical and unChristian, even anti-Christian. If you are interested, I wrote a whole file about that, The Heresy of the 12 Steps.

  • "I also think there's direct violation of separation of church and state with the court mandates and federal funding — do you?"

    Of course. It is blatantly wrong and unConstitutional. Unfortunately, the politicians do not seem to care about Constitutional issues unless they threaten their political careers.

You might want to check out the non-cult recovery groups to see if you can find some companionship or kindred spirits there. I think all of these web sites have online forums, and you can ask about local meetings. Plus, it may mollify your girlfriend if you are going to another kind of recovery group.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**   And the Steppers said, "If you want what we
**   have, and are willing to go to any length to
**   get it, then, here, drink this koolaid."

May 24, 2008: Still in the park, Day 7.

3 Canada Goose goslings in water bowl

[The story of the goslings continues here.]

Date: Wed, March 4, 2009 8:35 am     (answered 27 March)
From: "ROBERT G."
Subject: AA

You really have no clue do you?!

Date: Thu, March 5, 2009 11:15 am     (answered 27 March)
From: "Mario"
Subject: AA aka Apocalyptic Alcoholics

Mr. Orange,

I just want to say thanks. Thanks for your writing, your investigation, your energy and your commitment to your web site. I'm not going to write a lot here because so many of the letters you've received and published echo the lunacy I've discovered in AA. I will say this though: when I first attended an AA meeting I immediately felt uncomfortable and dubious. My instincts were telling me to get the hell out of that room. I didn't feel that way when I attended local adult school classes on finance and real estate. I didn't feel that way while attending my very first Major League baseball game. I didn't feel that way as a guest of a neighborhood church. Hell, I didn't feel as queasy facing my dentist with a root canal. People undecided on AA or looking for an alternative way should really trust their guts. If it appears scary and deceitful, then it most likely is. If it sounds too good to be true, then it is most likely false.

I understand from your site that you successfully quit smoking — terrific! I too recently gave it up and did so with the help of this website http://www.whyquit.com. Here is a person much like yourself who has devoted a lot of time and energy for the betterment of "his fellows" while seeking nothing in return. If you are already aware of Joel Spitzer, I'd like to hear your take on his approach to smoking cessation. I honestly believe that if a similar drinking cessation plan of action was put together, it would show very positive results.

Again, thank you and please do keep up your important work.

Regards, Mario

Hi Mario,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments. And yes, I quit smoking too, eight years ago. I was just describing the process for another fellow who is contemplating quitting. Look here.

I'll check out that quit-smoking web site as soon as I can. Right now I am cut off from the Internet, due to Qwest.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      Smoke, smoke, smoke that cigarette.
**      Puff, puff, puff yourself to death.
**      Tell St. Peter at the Gate
**      That I hate to make him wait
**      But I gotta have another cigarette.
**        ==   Merle Travis, recorded by Tex Williams and others

Blog note, 2008.03.28

Ah yes, Qwest. On the morning of Monday, March 16, Qwest turned off my phone and Internet DSL line because of some complaint about somebody downloading copyrighted material. There had been a similar complaint a year earlier. NBC-Universal complained that somebody was downloading episodes of Heroes and Battlestar Galactica. I explained to them that I didn't even know that you could do that, and had never done it, and didn't watch Heroes re-runs, and had not ever even seen an episode of the remake of Battlestar Galactica. The last time I watched Battlestar Galactica was when some network broadcast a second-rate pseudo-science-fiction series that starred Lorne Green as the commander of a rag-tag band of spaceships that wandered the galaxy searching for the planet Earth. That was about 25 years ago.

Of course I download stuff, lots of stuff, and also seed stuff using P2P protocols. But my big interest is history, especially the history of fascism in the USA and Britain in the nineteen-twenties and -thirties before World War Two. And I'm always seeking those photographs of Frank Buchman with Nazis.

I know what happened. I left my wifi open, without an encryption key, so that poor neighbors who could not afford their own DSL line or Comcast Cable or other Internet connection could piggy-back on me and get a little Internet access. I don't know who they are, but I know that they exist, because the DHCP logs told me about them getting assigned IP numbers. And apparently, somebody downloaded something that made NBC-Universal unhappy.

So, no good deed goes unpunished.

Now I'm shopping around for another Internet carrier. Answering email might be even more irregular until I get a new connection. For now I'm taking a laptop to a friend's house to do updates of the web site.

And you might want to keep this in mind if you are considering using Qwest. I can't recommend them. They also ripped me off for $200 for an "Early Termination Fee" when I cancelled an unused cell phone. That's on top of me paying them $80 per month — 40 for the phone line and 40 for DSL, just to get Internet access. They get that kind of money out of me, and they still turn me off. Well, that's 80 per month that they won't be getting from me any more.

Of course your mileage may vary. Good luck.

Have a good day.

UPDATE: Qwest also tried another $200 rip-off: They fabricated a charge of $200 for nothing and put it on the final bill, and then immediately sent the bill to a collections agency. And they do that to all of the accounts that they cancel. Wikipedia even reported that, until someone deleted that information.

LATER: Qwest got bought out or transformed into "Centurylink".

Date: Fri, March 6, 2009 1:26 am     (answered 27 March)
From: mered
Subject: The Orange paper

Just drop you a line to say thank you, very informative from all aspects, every AA Cult member should read it

Hello M,

Thanks for the compliment, and you have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**   "The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the
**    same level of thinking we were at when we created them."
**       —  Albert Einstein (1879—1955)

From: "D B"
Subject: Cupid is stupid...
Date: Sat, March 7, 2009 6:10 pm     (answered 27 March)

Hello Orange,

Hope this day finds you in good physical and emotional health. I have visited your site on many an occasion and truly find a wealth of information therein. (Since knowledge is power orange-papers.info site directly serves to help remedy the first distorted AA ideology of powerlessness)


Hello DB,

I am fine, thank you. And thanks for the compliment.

I am in recovery myself and have been sober for 7 years (intermittently in out of the madness of AA groups and ideology). What has drawn back into the rooms are the people I have met therein.

Congratulations on your sobriety. Seven years is like a special milestone. (Did you know that most of your body is completely replaced and regenerated every seven years?)

I am no longer a part of AA, in fact I want nothing to do with it and it has actually created one of the greatest tribulations in my recovery: I have fallen in love with a woman whom I met in the rooms. It is a great misfortune indeed that there are some truly good people entrapped in the AA web.

Unfortunately she is fully indoctrinated — and like most faithful AA sheep — is unable/unwilling to see the truth (or even entertain the idea of an alternate truth).

I have been around the rooms long enough to see many members marriages disintegrate in favour of relationships between members. She believes that I will again attend AA and I cannot help but wonder what will happen when she realizes I am absolutely done with it.

I know, Orange that you are no more qualified to give advice (especially strangers) than anyone else but what I seek is not so much your advice- but your experience ? in your experience do you think there is any chance this relationship can survive with her in AA and me not?

Best Regards,

Hi Dan,

You are right, I am not like Ann Landers or Dear Abby, and I am no more qualified to give out advice on romances than anybody else, but I will venture an opinion.

The killer line that I read in your letter is this: [She] "is unable/unwilling to see the truth (or even entertain the idea of an alternate truth)."

That is the kiss of death. If she is really unwilling to see the truth, or even consider another viewpoint, then there is very little chance of a relationship working. She will never be able to respect your decision to not be part of the cult. She won't even understand why you make that choice.

Years ago, I heard this advice for a man:

1. First, figure out where you are going in life.
2. Then ask whether that woman will go there with you.
3. Never reverse the order of items 1 and 2.

And obviously, if she does not wish to go there with you, then she isn't the right woman for you.

And you are right — Cupid is stupid. I often agree with the people who say that Cupid is a demon from the depths of Hell.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**   At least two thirds of our miseries spring from
**   human stupidity, human malice and those great
**   motivators and justifiers of malice and stupidity,
**   idealism, dogmatism and proselytizing zeal on
**   behalf of religious or political idols.
**       ==   Aldous Huxley

Date: Sun, March 8, 2009 10:12 am     (answered 27 March)
From: "brad c."
Subject: 100 percent

What about the people that have defeated alcoholism through the AA principles and have gone on to lead successful lives without alcohol, is there no account for the absolute recovery of these, of which I have met many and consider myself one.

Hello Brad,

You are assuming a lot there. Your first assumption is, "defeated alcoholism through the AA principles". There is no evidence that A.A. practices cause people to quit drinking. The evidence is that A.A. practices make people worse off. A.A. increases the rate of binge drinking and rearrests, and A.A. even raises the death rate, while failing to sober up the alcoholics.

Whether you consider your sobriety to be due to A.A. practices does not prove or even indicate that A.A. practices actually work to make alcoholics quit drinking.

Now there is no way to get accurate numbers for how many people successfully quit drinking while intensively doing A.A. practices, and then left A.A. and went on to live happy sober lives. All of the evidence says that there were not very many such happy stories.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "Not only had we failed to alter the natural history of alcoholism,
**  but our death rate of three percent a year was appalling."
**  == Dr. George E. Vaillant, currently a member of the A.A. Board of
**  Trustees, describing the treatment of alcoholism with Alcoholics
**  Anonymous, in The Natural History of Alcoholism: Causes, Patterns,
**  and Paths to Recovery, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA,
**  1983, pages 283-286.

Date: Mon, March 9, 2009 12:45 pm     (answered 27 March)
From: "Frank G."
ite potentially damages suffering alcoholics who could recover in AAP> So, my question to you sir is this? What does this "Cult" hope to accomplish??? Most of your rantings are blatantly wrong or outright lies. I could rip you from one end of your synopsis to the other without much effort at all. You do a great diservice to those in need of this program. I have watched many, many people over the years come in a mental, physical and emotional wreck. These same people are now very productive citizens and attend on a basis that is comfortable for there work, family, social schecules. You sir are either badly informed or just flat out lying when you say us "AA" people recruit, nothing could be further from the truth. When a newcomer comes around I will give them my number and if they would like to call I will oblige. Never, NEVER! do I ask a newcomer for his number, where he lives or demand anything from them. Again, another diservice you are doing. Get your facts straight, they are not! It is clearly obvious that you know very little about AA. No one should pay any attention to your rhetoric...........

Hello Frank,

The only actual question in your letter is the first line: "What does this "Cult" hope to accomplish???"

That's a darned good question. For some, it's getting under-age girls, money, status, and power. Like the "Midtown Group". Look here.

For some, it's all "Cars, pussy, and money", like the Phoenix Arizona Young People's A.A. Look here.

Other people want a ticket to Heaven, or the feeling of having a special hotline to God.
Other people want a social club.
Other people want to believe that they are right.
Other people actually want to quit drinking.

Then you repeat the standard A.A. line about "You do a great diservice to those in need of this program." That really is such a tired old slogan. So many A.A. members parrot it:

Where on Earth do they teach you to say that? Is there some special school that teaches the standard party lines?

Beyond that, your letter is just attacks and accusations backed up by no facts or evidence.

Since you think you know something about the A.A. success rate, please answer these simple questions:

What is the actual A.A. success rate? Out of each 1000 newcomers to A.A.,
  1. How many of them finally pick up a one-year coin?
  2. A five-year coin?
  3. A ten-year coin?
  4. A fifteen-year coin?
  5. A twenty-year coin?

(HINT: the answers are here.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "AA certainly functions as a cult and systematically
**  indoctrinates its members in ways common to cults the
**  world over."
**  "...in the absence of proven scientific efficacy,
**  critics are legitimate in suggesting that mandated AA
**  attendance may be criticized as a failure of proper
**  separation between church and state."
**  == A.A. Trustee Prof. Dr. George E. Vaillant,
**  The Natural History Of Alcoholism Revisited, page 266.

Date: Mon, March 9, 2009 12:11 pm     (answered 27 March)
From: "Mark F."
Subject: Your Website

Your Website Has A Vast Amount Of Information About A.A.

I Am In A.A But I Always Like To keep A Open Mind On All Subjects.

I Do Have A lot Of The AA Propaganda That I Am Reading Thru (Along With Your Website)

I have found some inconsistencies with A.A. In some of there Text Or member text and speakers.

The other day I was thinking the 4th and 5th step it is similar to a Catholic And his confession to a priest, and from what I could read about "FRANK BUCHMAN" he was a catholic?

Hi Mark,

Dr. Frank Buchman was ordained as a Lutheran minister, but his theology was something that he made up himself, borrowing heavily from the teachings of his mentor Henry B. Wright of Yale University. (Click on that link.)

Why Did Your Take It Upon Your Self To Dig Up All This Information?

See these items:

  1. Intro to A.A.
  2. Bait-and-switch treatment
  3. Friends driven away from help by the 12-step nonsense

It Seems Like It Might Be A Waste Of Your Talents.

Yeh, but it just seems to be my lot in life.


Date: Mon, March 9, 2009 12:44 pm     (answered 27 March)
From: "Mark F."
Subject: A.A.

maybe the so called local leader did this, but as I understand it they can not do this.

But they did it.

One young woman whom I couldn't help but like had accumulated 9 months off of alcohol when she relapsed. Her true-believer building manager (where she was housed, in a program,) sentenced her to 90 meetings in 90 days for relapsing. When she cried at a meeting that she was so tired of getting sucked back into drinking, and ending up waking up with strange guys, but she was having a problem with "giving herself completely" to the 12-Step program, one of the resident true believers announced that the answer to all such problems is "Do The Twelve Steps, Get A Sponsor, and Read The Big Book." Well, it didn't work. She relapsed repeatedly, and they kicked her out of the program.

I think you were saying that the Tax payers are paying for A.A. or were you saying because the drug centers were copying the A.A. program tax payers are basically paying for the A.A. program.

It's the second one. The treatment center wasn't A.A., but the so-called counselors were all A.A. and N.A. true believers who promoted Steppism all the way, and that was paid for with city, state, and Federal funds.

It seems to me that the drug centers are changing their ways due to funding is being pulled, but they still have some A.A. type provisions in the programs. I just went thru 3 months of a Alcohol Rehab center (In Oct, Dec and Jan 2009). and they pushed A.A., but the counselors themselves did not go and they were also alcoholics and drug addicts. I thought that was kind of strange.


The counselors at the treatment center that I went to did go to meetings, but they deliberately avoided the meetings where the patients would show up. They often had their own private meetings.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**   If we persist in writing blank checks to
**   treatment centers without demanding results,
**   then we will continue to get failure
**   disguised as success.

Date: Mon, March 9, 2009 5:41 pm
From: "Mercedes M."
Subject: snake oil

I was reading your page about the snake oils. Well, you make some real good points and some not so good ones. I'm sure you have received letters condemning you to eternal hell for those heretic views. Not from me. I truly agree with you that religion is used as a narcotic. Not just in the USA but all over in the world. In small dozes it can be helpful. Like meds, but if you OD on it.....

But, there are people who looking for help. Help to stop VOLUNTARY addictions. Like drugs, booze, porn, gambling. You were right about the 12 step does not fit for everything. Loved the one on Hepatitis C. What with those people. Where should they go? I have an addicted in my life. I used to smoke for 20 years and stopped. Got meds for it, but I looked for help. So, what is your opinion how can I help an addict loved one?


Hello Mercedes,

Thank you for the letter. You know, you are asking the toughest question of all.

The real short answer is that there is no panacea — no cure-all.

I am reminded of a letter that came seven or eight years ago, where a woman asked what might help her husband, and I had to explain that there was no guaranteed cure. Then I went to a SMART meeting and said that I was feeling inadequate because I didn't have any magic bullet to offer her.

The SMART facilitator said, "She wants to buy something that will make her husband quit drinking. If you could put a package like that together, you'd be a millionaire. All of the wives would buy it."

Alas, yes.

Nevertheless, there are certainly some things that can help.

  1. First off, use the services of a good doctor — especially someone who really knows something about addictions. About half of all of the people who have addiction problems really have underlying medical or psychiatric problems that they are trying vainly to fix by self-medicating with drugs or alcohol. People with bi-polar disorder (the old name is "manic-depressive disorder") are notorious for immense manic over-consumption of drugs and alcohol.

  2. Then consider why that person is using too much of something. What does that person really want? Above all, does that person want to quit? A lot of things hinge on the answer. It is nearly impossible to get someone to quit when they do not wish to quit.

  3. That's where something like SMART comes in. One of the four objectives of SMART is to increase motivation to quit and stay quit.

    One of the things that helps to increase motivation to quit is to look realistically at the benefits and costs of getting high. SMART calls that doing a "risk-reward" analysis. I prefer the name "cost-benefit analysis", which is what accountants and businessmen use, but no matter. It's just a name.

    I did a rap on cost-benefit analyses in an earlier letter, here.

    The SMART web site is http://www.smartrecovery.org/, and they have meetings all over the country. You can find a list of local meetings on their web site.

    And of course I don't want to slight the other non-cult recovery groups:

    1. WFS Women For Sobriety
    2. SOS Secular Organizations for Sobriety
    3. LSR LifeRing Secular Recovery
    4. RR Rational Recovery

    The last one, Rational Recovery, is no longer "a group", it's a book, and a technique — basically the same idea as the Lizard Brain Addiction Monster.

    Oh, and most of those web sites have forums where you can just talk to others and share experiences and problems.

  4. And please do read about the old Base Brain or Lizard Brain "Addiction Monster". Recognizing his wheedling and complaining and begging and urging me to "just have a little bit" helps me to avoid relapses. It helps a lot. I have found that knowledge to be a real life-saver.

  5. And I put together a list of discussions of what works, earlier, that you might want to look at, and it is here.

Good luck, and have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** One reason I don't drink is that I want
** to know when I am having a good time.
**         Nancy Astor (1879—1964)

Date: Tue, March 10, 2009 6:18 am     (answered 28 March)
From: "Jim K."
Subject: your opinion on aa

Most people in AA today are being led by the blind.... (the blind leading the blind).. Thats the only reason AA doesn't work.... People don't read nor do they UNDERSTAND.... What the book (which is the program of recovery) really says and means.... AA works really well... BUT... Good luck getting sober at AA meetings today....jim..

Hello Jim,

Thanks for the letter.

You know that I have to disagree. What is in the Big Book is sheer insanity — Bill Wilson's delusions blended with Frank Buchman's cult religion.

And of course A.A. does not work really well.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**   "A well conducted professional study" showed that
**   "some 5% of newcomers are still attending meetings
**   after 12 months. This is a truly terrible statistic.
**   Again we must ask 'Where does the fault lie?'"
**   == Dr. Ron Whitington — Chairman General Service Board,
**   AA Around Australia, Spring Edition No 90, October 1994

Date: Tue, March 10, 2009 10:49 pm     (answered 28 March)
From: "Gerald T."
Subject: the other women

If you have long time sobriety in AA you will have seen just about everything you might have seen in a bar..... The behavior of old timer males is well documented and often, if they are capable of being honest, will even be admitted to. You haven't spoken about other kinds of predatory behavior, such as financial fraud, misrepresentation of events, character assassination, shame fostering, child molestation, physical abuse, arm chair psychiatry, malpractice,

Hello Gerald,

Thanks for the letter. About those other sins and crimes, I have not spent a great deal of time on them, but people who send in letters have spoken about them many times. And I have certainly talked about child molestation — my "counselor" at the "treatment center" went to prison for it. Look here. And then there are the groups like the Midtown Group that also specialize in supplying young girls to old sponsors.

It's the old adage that many of us are wrong, and quite frequently so. My own experience with AA and medication is that the pressure not to take meds exceeded the individual beliefs on the subject... i.e. what ones says in a group as to what is said privately..... My good friends in AA would have blissfully watched me die rather than encourage me to seek help for depression and manic depressive condition. I was able to seek other sources, after a great deal of suffering.

I read a lot of Bill's writing on depression and can honestly say, yes he experienced. You scoff at the idea of Wilson being sexually addicted, though his conduct could certainly point to that.

I honestly don't remember having ever "denied" that Wilson was sexually addicted. I also doubt that I ever said he was. I don't think I said anything about "sexual addiction" one way or the other.

That said, I wonder whether Wilson would qualify as "sexually addicted". Many of the stunts that he pulled, and much of his behavior, like wanting to be seen as a real lady's man with a string of conquests, fits the pattern of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Bill was often just showing off. He even took two women to an A.A. meeting, and seated them on either side of himself, and kept his hands on their legs all through the meeting. Bill just wanted the other guys to feel envy. That's NPD.

I think he was most probably bi-polar, which I think because having been diagnosed in 1974; I went a long time without treatment, so I have some authenticity in experiencing it in others. John Barryman, the poet, suffered at length from it... His wife knew that one of it's symptoms in him was the sudden obsession with women outside the relationship which usually amounted to little. His last bout found him obsessed with a student and convincing his friends this was the genuine article. They enabled him to pursue this though when confronted by his wife latter, realized that it was mania. This was the last event before his suicide. An unfortunate misunderstanding, but not an uncommon one for his condition.

But depression is also a common problem with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The narcissist is either on top of the world, or at the bottom of the garbage heap. The slightest word of criticism is enough to send him crashing into the depths of depression.

Plus, Bill's time-line is funny:

  • Bill Wilson went into a year-long depression when his mother left him with his grandparents, because Bill felt that he had been dumped.
  • Then Bill went into a three-year-long period of depression when his high-school girlfriend Bertha Bamford died.
  • Then Bill had an 11-year-long period of depression while he was allegedly sober, 1944 to 1955.
Bi-polar people cycle between highs and low. Bill wasn't cycling. Bill really looks a lot more like a case of NPD. Whenever things didn't go Bill's way, he got depressed.

The anger and resentment you have for B. Wilson seems genuine enough but aren't you throwing the baby out with the bath water. There are no gods in AA, just humans with all the shortcoming, frailties, egos, and propensity for bullshit. AA is still the only game in town for addictions but it is capable of evolving and like it or not.... it does.

A.A. is not the only game in town. In fact, it isn't in the game at all because it does not work. It is a fraud and a hoax.

The young aa's couldn't get a seat there for some time, Drug addicts were not welcome because some old timer didn't want to give up his or her valium....

So now A.A. will generously let more kinds of people in? But how does that help them when A.A. doesn't work?

Like it or not it was founded by people with serious unsavory habits and beliefs. In spite of itself, it continues to fulfill its goal.

No, it does not "fulfill its goal", not unless the goal is to raise the death rate in alcoholics.

I also no that Wilson spoke of when AA passes from the scene as it will eventually. It will not be because of Wilson's infidelity, dr. bob's religious fervor, or any slight or shortcoming made by its members but because it no longer meets a need.

Gerald T.

Well, I guess that time has come. And the reason that A.A. will pass away is because it does not work.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**   An insincere and evil friend is more to be feared than a wild beast;
**   a wild beast may wound your body, but an evil friend will wound your mind.
**      ==  Buddha

Date: Tue, March 10, 2009
From: zebediah
Subject: Re: sobriety

I'm sorry you can't get sober

I am sober. I have eight years now. That's eight years off of everything, including alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs.

You, on the other hand, seem to have a problem with people who tell the truth. You have my sympathy.

Maybe you will recover some day. Then again, maybe not.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "Now I know what it's like to be high on life.
** It isn't as good, but my driving has improved."
** == Nina, on "Just Shoot Me", 13 Jan 2006.

Date: Wed, March 11, 2009 10:23 am     (answered 28 March)
From: "Ryan S."
Subject: 12 biggest lies of AA

what's your problem with AA dude? i've been clean 7 years now and i was looking for some literature about step 4 with google and i found your page.

what are you trying to accomplish by defaming AA? is it okay with you if people fix their lives and become sober?

just wondering.


Hello Ryan,

My purpose is to tell the truth and let people know that A.A. is a fraud that does not work to help alcoholics to get sober — it just raises the death rate.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "Not only had we failed to alter the natural history of alcoholism,
**  but our death rate of three percent a year was appalling."
**  == Dr. George E. Vaillant, currently a member of the A.A. Board of
**  Trustees, describing the treatment of alcoholism with Alcoholics
**  Anonymous, in The Natural History of Alcoholism: Causes, Patterns,
**  and Paths to Recovery, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA,
**  1983, pages 283-286.

Date: Thu, March 12, 2009 4:51 pm     (answered 28 March)
From: "Christopher G."
Subject: thanks for your site

Dear Orange (or is it Mr Orange? Whatever),

Your site has been a revelation to me; all those misgivings and doubts about AA I have had have for years have been set out clearly on your site.

My situation; classic alcoholic for many years, went to a rehab (in Australia) reputed to be top notch. Of course it was pure 12 step stuff; I did the 90 meetings/90 days, attended AA regularly for about two years but never went beyond step 3 (thank God). After realising that one local meeting was a hotbed of paedophiles (the 'leader' is still in prison) but seeing that no-one would even criticise the guy to his face I began to wonder.

Then I was told very clearly to not speak about people who I knew that were 'dry-drunks' but leading full and happy lives (like the then Prime Minister of Australia!). Finally, I went to a spiritual meeting and talked about my own 'awakening', which was a full-on epiphany that occurred soon after I became sober. When I told the meeting that my experience of God had nothing to do with Jesus, Bill Wilson or AA, I was told to sit down, shut up or leave the meeting — I left, never to return.

I stayed sober 10 years and 8 months, pretty happy, had the usual shit life offers (mother died, wife left me etc.) but never drank. Then one day, the lizard brain snuck past my guard and I started again. Now, after a 3 1/2 year bust, I am sober again (all right, only a week, but I have found slipping back into sobriety as easy as slipping back into booze).

I went to a meeting the other day and it was laughable. I don't know if this is happening much in the USA but there was lots of talk about 'big book thumpers', the DVDs of Joe McQ and a new way of doing the steps, plus the usual "I was in AA 9 years, thought I was doing the steps, but I was really a dry-drunk, but NOW, now I am really doing the steps". I even shared, and all the old jingle-jangle slogans just came out without even any thought on my part.

Now, here is my dilemma; while drinking I developed a great relationship with a woman who was, unfortunately an alcoholic. She never recognised it, and I wasn't going to say anything (an alko's dream really, a woman who can keep up with you drinking-wise and doesn't complain at all!). Then, late last year, in some sort of boozy fog, she made absurd allegations about my relationship with my daughters. Of course I had to say "see ya later kid" and dumped her there and then.

Well lo and behold, she turned to AA, is 3 months sober, is very nice to be around and wants to start again. All well and good but she is now a committed 12-stepper! I have been warning her about AA but she is not for changing. My worry is, how far do I go? If I do nothing then she may well end up in the cult 'hive-mind', but if I keep criticising she may either bust or choose AA over me.

I know this is not a lonely hearts column and I am not after an answer, just thought I would let others know of the dilemmas we can face.

Keep up the good work,

Chris G

Hello Chris,

Thanks for the letter. Starting at the top, yes, that same nonsense about Joe McQ. DVDs and Big-Book Thumpers is happening here too. It seems to be all over the world. And that line about "I thought I was doing the Steps, but..." is really a classic. That is the standard introduction to ego games of spiritual one-upmanship. What it really means is, "I'm doing the Steps better than you."

About the relationship with the woman: You are right. I'm not any expert advice for the lovelorn columnist. I will venture an opinion anyway, and it is this:

Unto thine own self be true.

By that I mean, you will not be doing either her or yourself any favors by not telling her the truth. If you don't tell her the truth, if you bite your tongue and hold back, then that limits the chances of her waking up and seeing what is going on. And if she does end up being absorbed into the hive mind, and you didn't really tell her the whole truth as often as you could, then you will feel guilty about it later.

On the other hand, if she is going to get mad and dump you because you tell her the truth when she doesn't want to hear it, then that is probably for the best — at least for you.

Now that doesn't mean that you have to just keep cramming your opinions down her throat non-stop and drive her nuts. That is where some judgement comes in. You can play it by ear and estimate how insistent you should be. And remember that sometimes you can win an argument by not winning it — that is, you don't have to hammer the last point all of the way in. Sometimes you can leave some space for her to connect the mental dots herself.

I would also be a little wary. You don't know that she isn't going to relapse and go back to drinking and making accusations about your daughters again. Since A.A. doesn't work, and has a sky-high failure rate, there is always that chance.

I can't predict the future, and neither can you. Some people actually do snap out of it, and sometimes the snapping happens very quickly. A dedicated cult member can become a dropout two weeks later. Sometimes people can drastically change their opinion of things in just a few hours or days, if they get the right stimulus and suddenly see the light. And other people just don't wake up, maybe not for years, or maybe never.

Good luck, and have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**   I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act;
**   but I do believe in a fate that falls on them unless they act.
**      ==  Buddha

Date: Fri, March 13, 2009 4:00 pm     (anwered 28 March)
From: "Aldis J."
Subject: Deception

I know that on your site you have pointed out that praying to tables or doorknobs or chairs is heretical, but could it also be a deceptive, surreptitious way of getting mixed up, ungrounded newcomers to practice a form of mindfulness meditation? I am referring to psychological mindfulness, not the concept from Buddhism. It does them some good, makes them more able to focus on the present & avoid temptation, and they consequently come away thinking they "found God in the program".

Hi Aldis,

I think yes, it is a surreptitious way to get people mixed up. For someone to pray to a bedpan, he has to suspend his disbelief. That opens the door to all kinds of mind games. And Suspension Of Disbelief is actually one of the standard cult characteristics.

I think the strategy is, "If you can get them to believe that there is actually some sane reason for praying to bedpans and doorknobs, then you can get them to believe anything."

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**   Those who can make you believe absurdities can make
**   you commit atrocities.   == Voltaire (1694—1778)

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